Current Affairs December 2 – 2015

2019 ias preliminary exam test series

Current Affairs occupy primary place in all competitive exams. No candidate can afford to take current affairs lightly in this era of stiff competition where lakhs of candidates appear for few number of posts. In order to get success in competitive exam, one needs to have excellent grip over the current affairs along with other subjects.

We therefore brings Daily Current Affairs, which are the Summary of the Current Affairs which we cover in our Current Affairs Magazine. You can read all these news in detail in our Current Affairs Magazine.

current affairsCurrent Affairs Summary December 2, 2015

PM MODI AT PARIS CLIMATE SUMMIT

Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned the focus of the Paris Climate Conference to the historic high carbon emissions of rich nations and asked them to ratify the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol which major emitters have not done. Addressing the Leaders Event at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, Mr. Modi said the developed world should ratify Kyoto’s second commitment in the period up to 2020, after which developing countries have pledged to begin their own voluntary actions. In a clear message that the onus of mitigation fell on the West, Mr. Modi said in an equitable system emissions reduction should be consistent with the carbon space that nations occupy.

DELHI JANLOKPAL BILL, 2015

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia introduced the Delhi Janlokpal Bill, 2015, in the Delhi assembly. The Bill proposes to cover any act of corruption as defined in the Prevention of Corruption Act done within territory of Delhi. Janlokpal will a three-member body having one chairperson and two members, to be collectively called Janlokpal. Janlokpal will be selected by an independent selection committee to be headed by the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, with Delhi Assembly Speaker, Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition as its members. Chairperson or any member of the Janlokpal can only be removed by the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi on the recommendation of an address by the Legislative Assembly by a majority of total membership, the minimum of which will be two-third members present and voting, on the ground of proven misbehaviour or incapacity. Janlokpal may investigate into the allegation of corruption occurring in the NCT of Delhi on the complaints from the Government or from the member of public or suo motu.

NARAYANA HRUDAYALAYA GETS SEBI NOD FOR IPO

Narayana Hrudayalaya has received approval of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to raise an estimated Rs 700 crore through an initial public offer (IPO). Narayana Hrudayalaya’s IPO comprises sale of 2.04 crore equity shares by existing shareholders Devi Prasad Shetty, Shakuntala Shetty, Ashoka Investment Holdings, JP Morgan Mauritius Holdings and Amba Devi Mauritius Holding.

MANAPPURAM FINANCE TO RAISE RS 2,000 CRORE

Manappuram Finance said it will raise Rs 2,000 crore by issuing non-convertible debentures (NCDs) on a private placement basis. To issue secured redeemable non-convertible debentures (NCDs) on a private placement basis, in one or more tranches, for Rs 1,700 crore aggregating to Rs 2,000 crore. Earlier in August at its annual general meeting, the board of the company had approved to raise Rs 300 crore through private placement of NCDs.

CHINA GRAPPLED BY POLLUTED SMOG

More than 200 expressways were closed and residents were advised to stay indoors as China grappled with the worst smog of the year. Shandong province issued a yellow alert as visibility in parts of the region dropped below 200 meters. Smog has shrouded much of northern China including Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Henan, Shandong, Shanxi and Shaanxi. China has a four-tier colour-coded weather warning system with red representing the most severe weather followed by orange, yellow and blue. China is the top polluter along with the US in green house gases.

PALAU BECOMES FIRST PACIFIC NATION TO CURB ILLICIT FISHING

The island nation of Palau is the first Pacific island state to ratify an international agreement to combat illegal fishing, which is estimated to deprive the global economy of up to $23 billion each year and endanger biodiversity and food security in many countries.

ORBITAL ATK RESUPPLY MISSION TO SPACE STATION

NASA commercial partner Orbital ATK has set Thursday, Dec. 3, for the launch of its fourth contracted mission to the International Space Station under the agency’s Commercial Resupply Services contract. Cygnus is set to lift off on the Atlas V. Cygnus will carry more than 7,000 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory to support dozens of approximately 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 45 and 46.

CRISPR-CAS9 GENOME EDITING HURDLE

Researchers have engineered changes to the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing system that significantly cut down on “off-target” editing errors. The refined technique addresses one of the major technical issues in the use of genome editing. The CRISPR-Cas9 system works by making a precisely targeted modification in a cell’s DNA. The protein Cas9 alters the DNA at a location that is specified by a short RNA whose sequence matches that of the target site.

NEW SOLAR ENERGY PLANTS IN UTTARAKHAND

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat laid the foundation stones of two solar energy plants which together will generate 5.864 megawatts of power. Set up at a cost of Rs. 49 crore by Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (UJVNL), one plant with an installed capacity of 1.466 mw will come up at Dhakrani while the other one will come up at Khodri with an installed capacity of 4.398 mw.

KABORE WINS BURKINA FASO ELECTIONS

Roch Marc Kabore was proclaimed the winner of the presidential election in Burkina Faso and will become the country’s first new leader. Kabore was also president of the National Assembly under President Blaise Compaore, who was toppled by an uprising in October 2014 after 27 years in power. He split with Compaore early last year and formed an opposition party.

MAURICIO MACRI IS NEW PRESIDENT OF ARGENTINA

Argentina’s Mauricio Macri won the presidential election with 51.34 percent of the vote. His rival, Daniel Scioli, ended with 48.66 percent. Macri’s victory represents a sea change for Argentina.

INDIA – FRANCE ALLIANCE ON SOLAR ENERGY

India and France launched an international alliance seeking to mobilise more than a trillion dollars by 2030 and deliver clean, solar energy to some of the planet’s poorest. The International Solar Alliance aims to deliver clean and affordable energy to all, including India’s 300 million people who have no access to energy.

HYUNDAI LAUNCHES TRAFFIC SAFETY CAMPAIGN IN INDIA

Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL) has launched its latest social responsibility initiative in collaboration with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways called ‘Safe Move – Traffic Safety Campaign.’ The campaign aims to spread better road safety awareness among children.

CHINA BUILDING LARGEST CLONE FACTORY

Boyalife Group and its partners are building the giant plant in the northern Chinese port of Tianjin, where it is due to go into production within the next seven months and aims for an output of one million cloned cows a year by 2020. Boyalife’s South Korean partner Sooam is already working on a project to bring the woolly mammoth back from extinction by cloning cells preserved for thousands of years in the Siberian permafrost.

ASIA-PACIFIC REGION FACES AIDS EPIDEMIC

India, China and Pakistan are among the 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific that account for 98 per cent of youngsters aged 10 to 19 living with HIV, according to a UN report which said the region is facing a “hidden epidemic” of HIV among adolescents. In 2014, 220,000 adolescents aged 10-19 were estimated to be living with HIV in Asia and the Pacific. India is among the 10 countries in the region accounting for 98 per cent of those aged 10 to 19 living with HIV. The other countries are Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

INDIANS IN WORLD SQUASH RANKINGS

Joshna Chinappa became the highest ranked Indian women’s squash player after climbing up four positions to be placed at 13th spot in the latest rankings list. Meanwhile, Dipika Pallikal, who till now was the highest ranked Indian, slipped to 16th from 14th place. Best among the Indian men is national champion Saurav Ghosal, who has dropped a rung to be at 18th. Mahesh Mangaonkar is at 62nd spot, Harinderpal Sandhu on 66th and Kush Kumar on 97th. In the women’s category, Sachika Ingle is placed at 87th spot.

INDIA RANKED 131 ON GLOBAL INDEX OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACCESS

India has been ranked a low 131 out of 167 nations on a global index that measures the level of information and communication technology access. India is ranked 131st in the IDI 2015 rank, dropping six notches from the IDI rank in 2010. South Korea is ranked at the top of IDI. South Korea is closely followed by Denmark and Iceland, in second and third place. According to the Measuring the Information Society Report by the UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU), globally 3.2 billion people are now online, representing 43.4 per cent of the world’s population.

NEW PHASE OF SOLID CARBON DISCOVERED

Researchers in US have discovered a new phase of solid carbon which is harder than diamond and can be used to make diamond-related structures at room temperature. Graphite is one of the solid phases of carbon; diamond is another. The new phase of solid carbon, called Q-carbon, is harder than diamond, and glows when exposed to even low levels of energy. Q-carbon can also be used to create a variety of single-crystal diamond objects. Researchers started with a substrate, such as sapphire, glass or a plastic polymer.

JAPAN ON ANTARCTIC WHALE HUNT MISSION

A Japanese whaling fleet set sail for the Antarctic, on a mission to resume the slaughter after a one-year pause. Despite a worldwide moratorium and opposition from usually-friendly nations like Australia and New Zealand, Japan persists in hunting whales for what it says is scientific research. In 2014, the United Nations’ highest court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), ruled that Japan’s annual Southern Ocean expedition was a commercial hunt masquerading as science to skirt the moratorium. In response, Japan’s 2014-15 missions carried out only “non-lethal research” such as taking skin samples and doing headcounts.

AIRTEL SHARES LOSSES ON CAPEX PLAN

Bharti Airtel shares fell sharply to trade at the bottom of the Nifty-50 index. Having closed down 2.3 per cent, Bharti Airtel slumped nearly 4 per cent. The selloff in Bharti Airtel, India’s biggest mobile carrier, comes on the back of the company’s announcement to invest Rs 60,000 crore over three years to upgrade its network.

TURKEY GOVERNMENT WINS VOTE OF CONFIDENCE

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s government won an expected vote of confidence in parliament and approval for its programme. Davutoglu’s AK Party won 49.5 percent of the vote in a Nov. 1 election, just five months after it had lost its single-party majority in a June ballot. It failed to find a coalition partner, forcing the country into another round of voting.

PHILIPPINES – CHINA ROW OVER SOUTH CHINA SEA

The Philippines has sought to debunk China’s claims to disputed islands in the South China Sea in Permanent Court of Arbitration. Although China has refused to take part in the hearing before the Court, judges have now given China until January 1 to write a rebuttal to the case laid out by Manila in the Hague. China claims sovereignty over almost the whole of the South China Sea on the basis of a segmented line that first appeared on Chinese maps in the 1940s, pitting it against several neighbours. Phillipines has called for the tribunal, set up in 1899, to rule on the dispute, accusing Beijing of flouting the convention.

INDIAN TENNIS PLAYERS IN LATEST ATP RANKINGS

Yuki Bhambri lost two places to be 93rd while Somdev Devvarman also slipped to be ranked 181 in the latest ATP list. Saketh Myneni was unchanged at 171. Ramkumar Ramanathan jumped 13 places to 260. Rohan Bopanna maintained his world number nine rank. He was followed by Leander Paes (41) and Purav Raja (93). Myneni was at 126, Divij Sharan lost three places to 134. In the WTA rankings, Sania Mirza continues to be world number one, a position which she shares with her Swiss partner Martina Hingis. In singles, Ankita Raina was the highest-ranked Indian player at number 255. The next best was Prerna Bhambri at number 473.

USA TIGHTENS VISA-WAIVER PROGRAM

USA announced changes in its visa-waiver program to prevent an attack in the United States similar to the ones that struck Paris. New measures include higher fines for airlines that fail to verify their passengers’ identities. The visa-waiver program ia a special travel arrangement to ease the flow of European tourists and other visitors from friendly countries.

IMF GIVES CHINA’S CURRENCY PRIZED RESERVE ASSET STATUS

The International Monetary Fund admitted China’s yuan into its benchmark currency basket. The decision to add the yuan, also known as the renminbi, to the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket alongside the dollar, euro, pound sterling and yen, is an important milestone in China’s integration into global finances and a nod to the progress it has made with reforms. To meet the IMF’s criteria, Beijing has undertaken a flurry of reforms in recent months, including better access for foreigners to Chinese currency markets, more frequent debt issuance and expanded yuan trading hours.

17 COUNTRIES HAVE ELIMINATED MOTHER-TO-CHILD HIV TRANSMISSION

According to WHO, data from 17 countries and territories across the Americas, including the United States, Canada and Chile, show they may have eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. In June, Cuba became the first country in the world to receive WHO validation that it had eliminated the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mothers to children.

YES BANK INKS PACTS WITH US FIRMS

Private sector lender Yes Bank has signed loan agreements worth $265 million with OPIC and Wells Fargo to support small business growth in India. US-based Wells Fargo Bank will act as sponsor and co-lender to the project, providing a loan of $20 million, bringing the total facility amount to $265 million.

QUIKR TO BUY COMMONFLOOR.COM

Online classifieds player Quikr may buy real estate portal CommonFloor.com for an estimated $100-120 million. Quikr and CommonFloor.com are at an advanced stage of discussion and the stock-and-cash deal is expected to be completed soon. The deal is valued between $100-120 million (roughly Rs. 665 crores – Rs. 798 crores).

BLA-BLA-CAR MOVES INTO BRAZIL

French startup BlaBlaCar, the world’s largest long-distance car-sharing service with some 20 million members, said it was moving into Brazil. Having already launched services in Mexico in April and raised $200 million (roughly Rs. 1,330 crores) in new investment in September, BlaBlaCar said it saw great potential in Brazil, where some 50 million cars hit the roads daily.

NARENDRA MODI RANKS 8TH IN TIME PERSON OF THE YEAR POLL

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently among the top 10 of the TIME Person of the Year readers’ choice poll. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (10.5 per cent) continues to lead the poll, PM Modi with a vote share of 2.7 per cent was in the eighth place while Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai (5.9 per cent) was in the second place and Pope Francis (3.9 per cent) in the third.

SEBI PROPOSES NEW NORMS FOR ISSUANCE OF CONVERTIBLE SECURITIES

SEBI proposed allowing existing investors to sell such instruments to the public besides limiting their tenure to five years. The proposed changes, once implemented, would provide an additional avenue for entities to invest in companies by way of purchasing convertible securities. Presently, existing shareholders are permitted to sell their shares to public but there is no specific mention about convertible securities. The capital market regulator has said that tenure of convertible securities issued to public by an existing listed entity can be a maximum of five years. Currently, there is no specific provision for tenure of convertible securities issued to public, except for financing of a group company where the maximum tenure is 18 months.

NEW CAMERA CAN MEASURE GREENHOUSE GASES IN AIR

Scientists have developed a highly sensitive camera that can photograph and film methane in the air, providing a new way to measure and monitor greenhouse gases. The new camera was developed by Linkoping University and Stockholm University in Sweden. The advanced hyperspectral infrared camera weighs 35 kilogrammes and measures 50x45x25 centimetres. It is optimised to measure the same radiation that methane absorbs and which makes methane such a powerful greenhouse gas.

RUSSIA APPROVES SANCTIONS AGAINST TURKEY

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a government order approving a raft of sanctions to be imposed on Turkey over the downing of a Russian warplane. The order included a list of the agricultural products that Russia would no longer import from Turkey from January 1, 2016. The list included fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, grapes and apples, as well as chicken products. It did not include lemons or nuts, of which Russia imports large quantities from Turkey.

PARLIAMENTARY PANEL FOR CAPPING AIRFARES

The Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, chaired by K D Singh, has suggested cap on maximum airfares in its report tabled in Parliament. In the recommendations made by the panel, it was suggested that there should be a regulatory mechanism to see that airfares remain within a reasonable range and also observed that the existing system has not worked.

THOMAS COOK INDIA RAISES RS 125 CRORE

Travel services provider Thomas Cook India has raised Rs 125 crore through issuance of preference shares on a private placement basis. The company, however, did not specify the purpose of raising the money.

FRANCE TO GIVE AFRICA 2 BILLION EUROS FOR GREEN ENERGY

France will give African countries two billion euros ($2.1 billion) over the next four years to develop renewable energy and replace the fossil fuels that drive global warming. France will devote six billion euros between 2016 and 2020 for electricity provision in the continent.

CABINET RESHUFFLE IN YEMEN

Yemen’s President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi reshuffled his cabinet and named new foreign and interior ministers. Among other changes, General Hussein Arab was appointed interior minister, replacing General Abdo al-Huzeifi who will lead the country’s intelligence services. The shakeup comes as anti-rebel forces struggle to push Iran-backed Houthi insurgents out of the southwestern province of Taez, seen as key to retaking the capital Sanaa.

GOVERNMENT FLOATS IDEA OF COUNTRY’S FIRST GOLD EXCHANGE

The Centre has mooted an idea of a standalone spot gold exchange to source the yellow metal from consumers, process it into coins and bars before selling them to jewellers in the domestic market. This is aimed at cutting down dependence on imports. The Centre floated the idea of a gold exchange, a transparent platform where jewellers can buy and sell the precious metal locally instead of depending on the international market.

21 COMPANIES TO EXIT BSE 500

Stocks of 21 companies, including Standard Chartered, Financial Technologies India, Reliance Industrial Infrastructure, JSW Holdings, ABG Shipyard and Lanco Infratech, will be dropped from the BSE 500 index on December 21. Among others, Future Lifestyle Fashions, IVRCL Ltd, State Bank of Mysore and Punjab & Sind Bank will be shifted out of the index. Meanwhile, SpiceJet, GHCL, Trident and 18 other securities would be added to the BSE 500, an index of the top 500 listed companies in the country.

MISSION TO RECOVER OBJECTS DROPPED BY FOREIGN VESSEL

A team of the National Investigation Agency today began a mission onboard a research vessel off Kerala coast to recover objects allegedly dropped in the deep sea from a foreign dhow or a shipping vessel which was seized by security officials in July this year. The foreign dhow with 12 crew, suspected to be from Iran and Pakistan, on board was intercepted off Kerala coast and detained by the Coast Guard and state police which recovered a satellite communication set and a Pakistani identity card from the vessel.

US MANUFACTURING FALLS TO LOW LEVEL

US manufacturing contracted in November for the first time in 36 months as the sector buckled under the weight of a strong dollar and deep spending cuts in the energy sector. Its national factory index fell to 48.6 last month, the first contractionary reading since November 2012, from 50.1 in October. While a reading below 50 indicates a contraction in manufacturing, the index remains above 43.1, which would signal a recession.

AGRICULTURE MINISTRY RENAMED

The Department of Agriculture and Cooperation and the Ministry of Agriculture have been renamed as the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare respectively. With a view to focus on the issues of farmers welfare, the DAC&FW has created a separate Division called ‘Farmers Welfare’ under the charge of a senior officer.

NATIONAL LEVEL AWARDS TO ANGANWADI WORKERS

The Minister of Women and Child Development gave away National Level Awards to the selected Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) for Exceptional Achievement. The award at the National Level comprises of Rs.25,000/- cash and a citation. The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme is the World’s largest integrated scheme working for children in India since last four decades. Successful implementation of ICDS rests on the commitment of the frontline functionaries i.e. the Anganwadi Workers, working at the grass root level on honorary basis.

COMMITTEE FOR REVIVAL OF CONVERTIBLE SECURITY ISSUANCES

The primary market advisory committee (PMAC) of SEBI has recommended that listed entities may issue compulsorily convertible securities for a maximum of five years. Currently, there is no such cap. These are securities which have features of both debt and equity. The holder of such a security can convert it into equity and benefit from it if the company issuing the security performs well. However, if the issuer does not perform according to expectations, the security holder has the option of redeeming the security at a predetermined maturity date.

SEBI PROPOSES CONDITIONS FOR EXIT BY DISSENTING SHAREHOLDERS

The Securities and Exchange Board of India has proposed that the exit offer to dissenting shareholders should be allowed only if a certain percentage, say 10 per cent, of the shareholders disagreed with the objectives for which they had raised money from investors.
SEBI has also said the exit opportunity should be given only if the amount utilised is less than a specified percentage of the total amount raised for the objects of the issue, say, 75 per cent.

JUBILANT LIFE GETS USFDA NOD FOR GENERIC ANTI-DEPRESSANT

Jubilant Life Sciences Ltd has received final approval from the US health regulator for its generic version of anti-depressant Paxil tablets.

NEW FACILITIES FOR NPS SUBSCRIBERS

The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority has introduced new facilities for members of the National Pension System. Now, subscribers will be able to transfer funds from their investment (Tier II) to pension (Tier I) accounts and points of presence will be able to process voluntary contributions made by any corporate subscriber. There is no limit on the amount and number of one way switches that can be requested by the subscriber.

INDIA SET TO BECOME A UREA SURPLUS COUNTRY

India will soon become an urea surplus state from a deficit state and start exporting it, Union Fertiliser Minister Ananth Kumar said. The country will produce 20 lakh tonnes additional urea this year after a number of pro-active steps, including revival of defunct fertilizer plants, taken by the government.

NEW CMD OF HINDUSTAN SHIPYARD

Rear-Admiral LV Sarat Babu will assume charge as the Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL) in January. Commodore Ashok Bhal, Director (Strategic Projects), will hold additional charge as CMD till then.

NEW FLOATING CARGO HANDLING FACILITY

The Union Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone for a proposed 2.55 million tonnes a year floating cargo handling facility at Haldia Dock Complex of Kolkata Port Trust. The proposed facility will be able to accept cargo from the deep draft unloading point (from large ships) at Sagar island.

BENGALURU, SAN FRANCISCO INK PACT TO BE SISTER CITIES

Karnataka has signed an MoU with the City of San Francisco in California for sister city status for Bengaluru. The MoU was signed by Mayor of San Francisco Edwin Lee and K Ratna Prabha, Karnataka Additional Chief Secretary, Commerce & Industries Department.

UN MARKS WORLD AIDS DAY (1 DEC)

The first World AIDS Day since political leaders committed to ending the epidemic by 2030 as part of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has generated “new hope”. The Millennium Development Goal of reversing the HIV epidemic was reached ahead of the 2015 deadline. UNAIDS estimates that 17.1 million of the 36.9 million people living with HIV worldwide do not know they have the virus.

ARTIST PINK NAMED NEWEST UNICEF AMBASSADOR

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has appointed Grammy award-winning recording artist Pink as the newest UNICEF Ambassador, and announced that she will build on her current role as the agency’s Kid Power National Spokesperson to raise awareness about its lifesaving health and nutrition programmes around the world.

AUSTRALIAN APPOINTED DEPUTY UN HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Kate Gilmore of Australia, a veteran United Nations, Government and non-governmental organization (NGOs) official, as Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights. Ms. Gilmore, currently Deputy Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), brings nearly 30 years of strategic leadership experience with her. She succeeds Flavia Pansieri of Italy.

THAKUR ANOOP WINS WORLD BODYBUILDING CHAMPIONSHIP

TV Actor and Model Thakur Anoop Singh won gold medal in a world bodybuilding meet in Bangkok.

Read these Current Affairs in detail in our Current Affairs Magazine.

Current Affairs for IAS Exam